IELTS Exam Pattern 2021

Updated by: Nidhi bahl on Aug. 23, 2021, 10:29 a.m.

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IELTS Exam Pattern

There are two types of IELTS tests i.e IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training and each of them comprise of four sections including listening, speaking, reading and writing sections, which are the basis for analysing the proficiency level of the candidates in the English language. IELTS Scores are accepted by thousands of leading universities across the world including Auburn University, Arizona State University, University of Oxford, Middlesex University Dubai, and many more.

The listening and speaking section follows the same pattern for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. However, the reading and writing sections follow a different pattern. The  Listening, Reading and Writing sections are conducted on the same day whereas the speaking section can be completed up to a period of seven days before or after the other tests. Overall, IELTS Academic consists of a total of 82 questions plus an oral interview under the speaking section.

On this page, you will be able to find the differences in the exam pattern and other important details regarding the IELTS 2021 exam pattern.

Want to Know How to Get a Perfect Score in IELTS?

Also Read:

IELTS Academic vs IELTS General: What’s the Difference? IELTS or TOEFL? Which Exam Should You Take to Study Abroad?
Average IELTS Scores at Popular US Universities Minimum IELTS Score Needed for Admission in Top B-Schools Abroad

Highlights of IELTS Exam Pattern

Given in the table below are some of the major highlights for IELTS 2021 Exam Pattern.

Sections

4: Speaking, Reading, Listening and Writing

Total Duration

2 hours and 45 minutes

Number of Questions

82+an oral interview

Score Range

0-9

Mode of Exam

On Paper and On Computer

Section-wise IELTS Test Pattern

Section Duration Total No. of Questions Type of Questions Marks Per Question
Listening Around 30 mins (+ 10 mins transfer time) 40 Matching, MCQs, form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion, plan/map/diagram labelling, sentence completion 1
Reading 60 mins 40 Identifying information, MCQs, matching information, identifying the writer’s views/claims, matching headings, matching sentence endings, matching features, sentence completion, note completion, table completion, diagram label completion and short-answer questions, summary completion, flow-chart completion 1
Writing 60 mins 2

Task 1: Describing visual information (graph/table/chart/diagram) in one's own words (150 words in 20 mins)

Task 2: Add their point of view or argument or problem (250 words in 40 mins)

Reported in whole and half bands
Speaking 11 to 14 mins Variable Oral interview with the examiner Reported in whole and half bands

While, the Listening and Speaking sections of IELTS 2021 follow the same pattern for both IELTS Academics and IELTS General Training, there is a slight variation in the exam pattern for the Writing and Reading section.

IELTS Listening Section

In the listening section for IELTS 2021, candidates need to listen to recordings and answer questions based on the recordings. The recordings can be heard only once before the questions are asked.

The IELTS Listening section comprises of four parts. From January 2020, the word section has been replaced by parts. Each part of the IELTS listening action comprises of 10 questions each. Hence, the total number of questions in the listening section totals to 40 questions.

The first two parts of the listening section of IELTS is set on everyday situations.

Part 1: In part 1, there will be a conversation between the two speakers.
Part 2: In part 2, there is a monologue.

In the final two parts, the situation will be set on educational and training contexts.

Part 3: In part 3, there will be a conversation between the two main speakers.
Part 4: In part 4, there will be a monologue on an academic subject.

Following are the highlights of the IELTS listening section:

IELTS Listening Section

Duration

30 minutes

Number of Questions

40 (10 in each part)

Parts

4

Type of Questions

  • Multiple Choice

  •  Matching

  •  Plan, map, diagram labelling

  •  Form, Note, Table, Flow-chart, Summary Completion

  • Sentence completion

  • Short-answer questions

Total Marks

10 (1 for Each Question)

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IELTS Academic Reading

The IELTS Academic Reading section consists of 40 questions based on three different reading paragraphs. The duration for the IELTS Academic reading section is 60 minutes and questions are asked in various formats like multiple choice questions, identifying information, matching information, matching headings, matching sentence endings, matching features, sentence completion, summary completion, flow chart, diagram labelling etc.

The following table shows the highlights of IELTS Academic Reading section:

IELTS Academic Reading Section

Duration

60 minutes

Number of Questions

40

Type of Questions

Varied

Parts

3

Total Marks

40 (1 for each question)

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IELTS Academic Writing

The IELTS Academic Writing Section consists of 2 questions. In the first question, candidates need to describe a visual information in the form of graphs, tables, charts or diagrams, which should be completed withing 20 minutes. In the second question, candidates need to respond to an argument or a point of view or a problem.

The following table shows the highlights of IELTS Academic Writing section:

IELTS Academic Writing Section

Duration

60 minutes

Number of Questions

2

Type of Questions

Descriptive

Parts

2

Total Marks

-

IELTS Speaking Section

The IELTS Speaking Section consists of 3 parts. Candidates needs to describe a visual information in the form of graphs, tables, charts or diagrams. It should be noted that the duration for each part varies. Part 1 needs to be answered in 11-14 minutes, part 2 needs to be answered in 4-5 minutes, including the preparation time and Part 3 should last for 4-5 minutes. The following table shows the highlights of IELTS Speaking section:

IELT Speaking Section

Duration

60 minutes

Number of Questions

19 - 24

Type of Questions

Introduction and interview, Long turn and Discussion

Parts

2

Total Marks

Certificated

IELTS Indicator (Online Home Test)

The IELTS Indicator option is available for students who wish to take the test at home and submit the score for admission purposes at universities abroad. However, the IELTS Indicator test is not a substitute for the in-person IELTS test and the test taker may have to take the in-person IELTS test at an IELTS test centre.

Here are some key points to know about the IELTS Indicator Exam Pattern:

  • IELTS Indicator can be taken at home and is a session-based online test.

  • The Exam pattern for IELTS Indicator is similar to the in-person IELTS in terms of the content, test structure and time allocated.

  • IELTS examiners score the IELTS Indicator and therefore, is as reliable as other options.

  • However, candidates cannot expect the same quality and security procedure in an IELTS Indicator test as seen in the in-person format of IELTS.

FAQs

1. What is the total duration for the IELTS test?

Total duration for the IELTS test is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

2. How many sections are included in IELTS 2021?

There are 4 sections in IELTS 2021, i.e. Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing Sections.

3. How many questions are asked in IELTS 2021?

Candidates will be asked to answer questions ranging between 96 - 106 in an IELTS 2021 exam.

4. What is the maximum marks achievable in IELTS 2021?

An IELTS test is scored in a bandwidth of 1- 9.

5. Are there any changes in the IELTS Exam Pattern for 2021?

No changes have been made in the IELTS Exam Pattern for 2021. However, a new format of IELTS Test at Home has been introduced which is named as IELTS Indicator.

6. What are the types of questions asked in the IELTS Reading section?

IELTS Reading contains 3 paragraphs followed by MCQs on sentence completion, summary completion, flow chart, diagram labelling, identifying information, matching headings, matching sentence endings,  matching features etc, based on the three passages.

7. Is the syllabus for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training the same?

The listening and speaking section follows the same pattern for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. However, there is a slight variation in the reading and writing sections of the test.

8. What are the types of questions asked in the IELTS Writing Section?

There are two questions asked in the IELTS Writing Section, wherein a candidate is required to describe a visual information presented in the form of graphs, tables, charts or diagrams.

9. How is the IELTS Speaking Section Analysed by the examiner?

Candidates will receive a certificate on completion of the IELTS Speaking section based on the Introduction, Interview and Discussion of the test.
 
10. Is the Exam Pattern of IELTS Indicative similar to IELTS Academics?

The Exam pattern for IELTS Indicator is similar to the in-person IELTS in terms of test structure, time and content of the test.

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